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HISTORY   AND    HUMAN    RELATIONS

attempts to form anything like a League of Nations.
From 1919, however, one saw the teaching of history re-
organised and text-books rewritten—the events of the
past now marshalled to serve a different purpose, and in
particular the course of nineteenth-century European
history reshaped—this time for the purpose of proving
that all the centuries had been pointing to a different
kind of consummation altogether, namely the League of
Nations* I am not concerned with the question which
of these views was the true one. But I should have
been more impressed if on both those occasions the
historian had not been so inclined to ordain and dispose
his subject-matter, and lay out the whole course of
centuries, for the purpose of ratifying the prejudice that
already prevailed for other reasons at the time. It can
easily be seen, therefore, that the historian who most
desires to please his age—the historian whom we most
applaud because he chimes in with our views—may be
betraying us, and may rob us of one of the possible
benefits of historical study, namely the advantage of an
escape from merely contemporary views and short-
range perspectives. On the other hand, Burckhardt and
Acton gave the nineteenth century certain warnings
which the lapse of time has proved to be of great
significance. It appears, however, that a generation
does not take much notice of a message that it happens
to dislike.

The things which happened in England have taken
place in the historiography of all other countries ; and
of course the Englishman sees the error when German
historians make it, and the German sees the error in the

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